We went BIG and we went home...

With our time coming to a close we knew we wanted to throw a big party to properly say goodbye to our friends, neighbors, and Waswahili family.  In a communal culture our time there would not have been possible without them loving us, helping us, teaching us their language and inviting us "in" in so many ways.  We just had to say thank you.  Yep, a party was in order!  Everyone showed up in their party best, carrying mats to sit on, and bearing gifts, hugs, and smiles.  The party quickly turned into a shindig with over 200 people!  The chaos was well......overwhelming but an amazing time to properly party local style with our friends.
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one of my fav pics EVER....women wearing matching dresses sitting on a mat outside AND texting...seriously this picture encapsulates the culture in many ways
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Jason greeting guests at our gate.  This dear woman is the father of one of Jason's good friends and we all call her "Bibi" (grandmother).  We have spent many a days visiting in her village, picking fruit, and talking.
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twin daughters of a friend all dressed up and ready to party.  Women spend a lot of time getting ready and then even more time gushing about how fabulous everyone looks. I sported bright satin, purple sequins AND too much black eyeliner for the occasion.  That was big people!
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Skuli kids singing and clapping for speeches- even one of my students made a speech that of course had me in tears (So, yeah I pretty much cried all day)
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J with the manfolk
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and me with the women and watoto.
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Jason's good friend was our MC and did an AMAZING job with crowd control and helping everything flow. He was such a blessing to us that day!
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This was us giving our speeches and thanking everyone.
Jason spoke about God's provision for our family in coming to the island and how such a huge part of that was our friends and neighbors.  I spoke about God's love and how my white girl self finally learned to cook, dance, and dress like a local (there was much applause for that!). It was a dear time of reflecting and trying to share in a small way the gratitude we feel for living, learning, and loving in this culture.
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the caterers showed up with the biggest pot of biryani I had ever seen.
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hand washing and getting ready to dig in
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over 200 plates were eaten within minutes...it was fabulously yummy!
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sitting on mats and eating with our hands......I will miss it so! Anyone want to come over and eat island style? Karibu!
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time for speech and gift giving (giving gifts is so important in this culture and so many people brought us gifts from locally woven bags, kangas, cloves, local incense, dresses, fabric, clothes for the girls, and my favorite 'themed' gift from some cheeky ladies in our English group (you will have to ask if you wanna know :)
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then we watched a slideshow which included pictures of many of the people there and us over the last four years.  The kids get so excited to see themselves!
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the sun set and everyone said goodbye and started making their way home.....and yeah....I cried some more.
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the power went out just in time as I hugged everyone and finally caught my breath after many tears.  It was a full day.  One we will always treasure and remember and cherish because the pain in leaving means we built real relationships and our roots burrowed deep into the dusty African soil.  We saw God work miracles in others but mostly in us.  We definitely went BIG before we went home.  We pray that God continues to protect, reveal His love, and be with us and these dear friends far away.
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Comments

Leslie Wolf said…
The food looks amazing! I am sure that you will miss your friends. At the same time, it is wonderful that you were able to make so many connections, and to touch so many lives.
misskatiez said…
that looks like one fabulous party! and holy cow that biryani looks tasty!
Andrew Brown said…
Best post of them all! It must have been such a bitter-sweet evening as you said goodbye to so many people you came to love. Thanks for sharing this sweet post! May God continue to bless and guide your precious family!

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